Indians bats explode early, Tribe defeats Padres, 16-4
Cleveland scores seven times in the first and second innings in route to easy win
Player of the Game: Asdrubal Cabrera (3-for-4 with a homer and 4 RBI)
You would think they were playing Friday night football at the University of San Diego.
Scoring seven times in the first and second innings, Cleveland trounced the Padres for an easy, 16-4 victory. Jason Kipnis got things going with an RBI single off San Diego starter Matt Wisler. The 21-year old prospect allowed seven earned runs in one inning against the Tribe offense, highlighted by a three-run homer from shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to close out a touchdown and extra point lead in the first.
But they were far from done.
Back-to-back-to-back RBI singles by Michael Brantley, Ryan Raburn and Cabrera an inning later gave the Indians four more runs, before Yan Gomes sealed the onslaught crushing a three-run homer to close out another seven run second inning.
Plenty of run support for Tribe starter Zach McAllister who threw well Friday, allowing two runs on three hits in four innings, walking three and striking out six. His next start will come this Wednesday against Oakland right-hander Jesse Chavez on April 2.
Offense the name of the game for Tribe
Yes, pitching wins championships, but there’s a sense that the Cleveland offense will be the one that will take them to the promise land in 2014.
Five Tribe players collected at least two hits Friday, as the team scored 16 runs on 13 hits through the first three innings of play. When combined, the numbers from Raburn, Cabrera and Gomes look like something out of a video game, as the trio went 9-for-12 (.750) with two homers, 11 RBI and five runs scored.
A one-two punch from Justin Masterson and Danny Salazar will certainly help, but the feeling is that Gomes, Kipnis and others will be at the center of it all highlighting the club’s success this year.
The Ax-Man continues his success
He realistically could end up being the steal of the free agent class.
Tossing another scoreless frame Friday, Indians closer John Axford has allowed just one earned run on three hits in eight innings this spring, striking out nine. As the former Milwaukee Brewers closer, Axford saved 81 games from 2011-2012. Signing a 1 year, $4 million contract this offseason, he and his stache could become a fan favorite not only in Cleveland, but throughout baseball once again.
Spring training numbers are one thing, but what can we expect from the Canadian native once the regular season hits? I recently gave my 10 bold predictions for the 2014 Indians and I think any Tribe fan will like my prediction on The Ax-Man.
- Third baseman Carlos Santana launched a solo home run in the third inning off Padres rookie Trevor Gott. It was Santana's third long ball in Cactus League play.
- The radar gun may have been hot, but it clocked a pitch from Indians reliever Blake Wood at 102 MPH during the fifth inning. The former Royals right-hander is set to make a name for himself in the American League being named to the Opening Day roster.
- It was revealed Friday that Nick Swisher wore Jason Giambi’s infamous gold thong during the 2009 World Series. While his career postseason numbers haven’t been the greatest, it helped the former Yankee right fielder come through the clutch in Game 3 of that series. The first baseman went 2-for-4 Friday with two runs scored, raising his average to a solid .308 this spring.
For the first time since 2006, Cleveland has won 20 spring training games. Owning a 20-7-2 record overall, the team will look to close out the Cactus League in first place before heading out to Oakland to begin the regular season this Monday.
Up next for Indians: The Tribe battles the Padres again on Saturday at University of San Diego Stadium at 4:10 p.m. ET. Salazar will get the start for the Wahoo’s against Padres southpaw Eric Stults.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.